YCAC vs Mandara

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YCAC vs Mandara

11 Oct 2010 – YCAC vs Kurumi
(East Japan Club Championships)

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(East Japan Club Championships)

YCAC Gents vs Kurumi
Match report by Michael Hunt and photos by Kyoko Obayashi

YCAC 92 – Kurumi 33
Tries: Joe Naulu(3), Aran Delaney(2), Kane Hancy(2), Willie Lapthorn(1), Ben Bacon(1), Ben Patu(1), Tim Lenevez(1), Mike Griffin(1), Simon Ryan(1), David Dix(1)
Conversions: Tim Lenevez(11)

Reporters Note

I was honoured when our esteemed President approached me to write this report. In my relatively short time with the Club, I have come to regard it as a diverse yet harmonious family – in many ways, my family. There is huge variety among our number – little, big, skinny, fat, old, young, quick, lazy, verbose, reticent – but the way I see it, you’re all Hunts; one big pack of Hunts. And none bigger than El Presidente, who I now reverentially refer to as a….no….THE Supreme Hunt. So I dedicate this, my first (and last?) report, to all you YCAC Hunts out there.

Michael Hunt

“BE GREAT!”

Thus exhorted Aran “Big Del” Delany-Hunt as the YCAC squad completed its warm-up for the match against the well regarded Kurumi side. A few sniggers were heard from those few players less familiar with the American style of gee-up, but no observer could doubt the force of the feeling nor the determination that lay behind the sentiment. It was evident in the warm-up (which, on this sweltering Saitama morning, was more of a “bringing to the boil”) that the boys had turned up in the right frame of mind. Now it was just a matter of putting it on the pitch.

The event itself could be summarized in a single vignette involving our big, fired up Seppo. Kurumi shifted the ball quickly across field on their 10 yard line after regathering a clearing kick. Midfield; broken play; slightly disjointed defence; the gaijin tiring; this looked dangerous for Team Hunt. But up pops Big Del. Leaping like a salmon, he intercepts a floated (but not egregious) pass and gallops (do salmon gallop? whatever) in to score under the posts.

That our extrovert American was having his best game so far in the YC&AC shirt was, by this point, already clear. But that moment – a potentially well constructed and swift counter-attack foiled by a determined and skilled man in blue – was emblematic of a wider theme in this Sports Day national holiday fixture.

An observer might be tempted to think of the Curate and his egg. (Ask the Vicar if you are unfamiliar with this story). There were many moments worthy of praise. Ten through to twelve were lethal in attack and displayed metaphorical steel in defence. Joe “Mal Meninga” Naulu-Hunt, however, appeared to use the actual steel in his leg to brush off hapless defenders in several great finishing efforts in the first half. In the forwards, Theo “Air miles” Bacon-Hunt was ubiquitous with Brimman “The Quiet American” Fraser-Hunt almost always in his pocket. The tight five used their size and strength to more or less crush Kurumi whenever they started to get some momentum. But to single out individuals is to imply that others did not play well, and this would be unfair. It was an excellent team effort.

And yet…

If the more or less unceasing torrent of abuse and profanities issued in a thick kiwi accent (and, therefore, mercifully incomprehensible to at least 75% of those present) for the first 20 minutes by coach / mentor / talisman “Night” Maher-Hunt (aka “Gobby Hunt”) was any guide, then there would seem room for improvement.

To be dissatisfied with a win where you have scored more than 90 points against a respectable opponent – and Kurumi were certainly that – seems faintly ridiculous. But after the full time whistle, your reporter sensed a current of “could do better” mixed in with the natural pleasure of such a comprehensive win. Surely some of this feeling sprung from the fact that Kurumi scored 33 points, many of which were easily taken.

It was noteworthy that new skipper Dean “Mumbles” Stallard-Hunt stepped so effortlessly into the leadership role. His demand that his team avoid any possible suggestion of foul play must have grated for such a fine exponent of the dark arts. But he led by example and showed discipline that will be crucial in games to come. Doubtless it helped that our former leader Joe “The Boss (Suntory Boss that is)” Fisher-Hunt has moved (permanently?) into that place from which all great thought emanates – the front row. Cuddling the new skipper whenever the ref would allow, Joe’s calming bon mots must have been a great comfort to the boy from Rocky. (The only cloud on the new skipper’s horizon – other than a dickie knee – is the rumour of a request from the JRFA that post match speeches be delivered in one of the world’s top 5 recognised languages….or at the very least one that an educated bi-lingual Japanese is able to interpret, even loosely).

And so, to the victors, the spoils. Green Car luxury on the return journey, Mickey Ds and under-the-tracks yakatori – food of choice for finely tuned athletes. Even a few beers were had. As the night became cloudy, there were suggestions that the altitude sickness induced by a day scaling such athletic, ergonomic and gastronomic heights might be cured by a consultation with a Doctor from that flattest of places, Brittany. But this is pure conjecture.

Finally, a return to the real niku in this tonkatsu – the rugby. YC&AC dominated this game, played some excellent rugby, won easily (celebrated well) and will have doubtless laid down a big marker for all remaining teams in the East Japan Cup. But most pleasing of all must be the sense that so much improvement is possible.

After having been very good on Monday, the next time Big Del calls for the team to “Be Great”, there should be no sniggers – it will be achievable.

3 Oct 2010 – YCAC Gents vs Fujisawa West

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YCAC Gents vs Fujisawa West
Match report by Jason Dunn and photos by Kyoko Obayashi

Gents 29 – Fujisawa West 19
Tries: Willie Brimman (2), Aran Delaney, Judo Joe, Sias
Conversions: Wille Lapthorn, Jason Dunn

After various formal complaints concerning lost revenues by the Japan Orthopedic Association, the Gents 2010/2011 season finally got off to a hamstring pulling, knee to the head – smashing start!

Both teams were greeted by near perfect conditions which did little to help the various casualties of Brimman’s birthday drinks the night before (yeah…thanks for the invite Mate?), not to mention a Samoan disco night that left Ben Patu looking like he had just gone 12 rounds with Mike Tyson.

However, once the game kicked off, the Vicker made it clear he wouldn’t be taking the softly softly approach with his hung-over club-mates. After an uzi like machine gun spay of penalties against the home side, the Gents soon found themselves under the posts on the receiving end of 7 points. Little did they know, he was only warming up!

After some quick tries by the birthday boy Brimman “Private Party” Frazer and Aran “I’ll just plastic bag it” Delaney (plus a Willie conversion), the Gents were soon on the receiving end of a lesson in the rugby laws. Not even the bewildered puppy dog expression on the face of Kenji “what 10 meters” Yoshioka could temper the Vickers onslaught. After almost a dozen penalties concerning offside defensive play, the Vicker had no choice but to award a penalty try. The Gents quickly replied with a break out move finished off by “Judo” Joe, but their elation was short lived. After some very unevenly matched scrums the Vicker was forced to request no pushing at scum-time, which for a Gents team, is similar to deciding to castrate a horny three legged, deaf and blind dog. The Gent’s only weapon had been taken away from them and as the half drew to a close, a number of worried faces walked off the pitch (Gents 17; Fujisawa West 12).

In the second half without the power of their scrum the Gents struggled initially to retain position with a number of promising breaks ending in the ball being turned over. Panic started to show on the faces of the payers…but then came the moment we’d all been waiting for…… Is it a bird?…, is it a plane?… is it “Master Po” from that old David Carradine Kung Fu TV series??? No – it was El Presidente warming up to come on!! Within minutes of getting on the field he had already kung-fu-style man-handled two of the opposition to the ground and made a number of searing karate chop runs through the defensive lines before taking a round-house blow to the head – “hai-ya!”. Having decided he had done more in his first one and half minutes than anyone else had done in the entire game (or was likely to do) he promptly retired hurt. The oppositions spirit, however, had been crushed like a stale fortune cookie.

From there, the Gents were able to run in two well constructed tries to Sias “Man Mountain” Potgieter (converted by JD) and Brimmin “Private Party” Frazer to the Opposition’s one converted try, bringing the score to 29-19 in favor of the Gents.

With time running out and fearing Master Po may soon return, the opposition quickly resorted to their own fowl play and decided to have a crack at the Gents half-back Dougal “grasshopper” Robertson. After jumping on poor Dougie before he had even got his little hobbit hands on the ball a “small” tussle broke out and Hiro “Knobbly Knees” Iino decided to take matters into his own hands…or knees as it turned out… Not to be out done by Master Po he delivery a perfectly executed kung fu move called “Fooka Yoo” (which loosely translates to “hairy knee in face”) and was promptly yellow carded from the field by a now infuriated Vicker.

Given that the game was unlikely to get any more exciting, the Vicker did the only sensible thing and blew the full time whistle.

Thankfully, there were no major injuries other than Sam Stephen’s complaint of a torn shoulder pad. Unfortunately for Sam, he appears to be making a habit of tearing all protective equipment he uses.

3 July 2010 – YCAC vs Imperial College London 2nd XV

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Match report by Hunter Hemingway and photos by Kyoko Obayashi
Click here to view match photos
YCAC 42, Imperial College London 2nd XV 21 (HT: 14-7)
Tries: Alex Curran, Noah Pflaum, Tristan Fahy, Tim Le Nevez, Kenji Yoshioka (2)
Conversions: Noah Pflaum (6)

YCAC finished their 2010/11 season in style with a very good win over Imperial College London’s 2nd XV on an overcast July day at the campus of Japan’s most prestigious university (Todai).

The result in this match was a pleasant surprise as all the omens before the game were not good:
– We were playing a university team at a university campus in a ‘special’ game. This is usually a sure-fire sign that we are about to get completely stitched-up (e.g. the ‘Keio All-Stars’ debacle in 2008).
– ICL were looking disappointingly young, fit, plentiful (41 players in the touring party) and without hangovers (our hearts dropped when one of them casually said “oh yes, we made sure we got a good sleep last night”).
– We were struggling for numbers. This was not helped by losing our three loosehead props on the day of the match – starter Luke “The Nuke” Raimo and back-up Eps “Little Cuzzy Bro” Tuibenau reinforced the stereotypes regarding the mental capacities of front rowers with one misreading the email and thinking this was a Sunday fixture and the other ending up at the wrong Todai campus while newcomer Michel “Dutch Courage” Malek picked up an injury after too enthusiastically trying to recreate the heroics of his national team in a friendly futsal game during the week. Luckily we were able to go ahead with the match by borrowing pocket battleship Yushi from Todai who scrummed and lifted like a demon all day. The sad thing is that if he came to YCAC he could play 30 games a year and virtually never practise whereas at Todai he will be practicing 6 days a week and you can bet hardly ever playing (they wouldn’t have risked injury by lending him to us if he was a regular starter).
– We were playing in our cursed ‘Canterbury’ alternative jerseys (red and black hoops). The only other time we have played in these jerseys was our shock loss to the Shonan Playboys a couple of months ago. Of course it must have been the jerseys …

In addition to all of this, two of our backline stars (halfback “Wee” Willie Lapthorn and fullback Tristan “Larry” Fahy) were nursing tremendous hangovers although long experience has taught me that this is not actually a negative and many YCAC players seem to play better in this state. So it proved yet again in this instance with both having fine games – Lappers running the ship expertly from the No. 9 jersey and Fahy producing a strong performance from the back. This match also clearly did no harm to the spirits of the two with captain “Slow” Joe Fisher receiving a message from them at 3:30 am the following morning saying they were still out celebrating!

However, despite all of these ill-omens it was YCAC who started the stronger with No. 8 Alex “Timepiece” Curran dotting down for the first try of the match. Over the last few seasons Curran has developed a (well-deserved) reputation for unreliability but no-one has ever questioned his value once you actually get him onto the field and this game was no exception with the big man having a stormer from the back of the scrum despite this being his first match in six months. Fly-half Noah “The Bottomless Fareweller” Pflaum converted in what was to become a familiar sight in this match – all nine tries scored in the game were turned into 7-pointers. Noah was also next to score for YCAC in what will almost certainly be his last game for YCAC before he heads off to Edinborough University this autumn. Noah has been the club’s best player over the last season so he will obviously be a huge loss. However, when one door closes another opens and this game marked the YCAC debut of Noah’s older brother, Nathan “Big shoes to fill” Pflaum, who will be based in Tokyo full time from this autumn. Nathan has actually just graduated from Victoria University of Wellington so, as Freezer (gone but not forgotten) would say, that makes him an ‘aluminium’ of Slow Joe and JD. Cue secret handshakes and arcane rugby songs …

ICL managed one try in the first half so at the half-time break YCAC held a 14-7 lead. Fahy scored first for YCAC in the second half but ICL promptly replied with a try of their own. Next to score for YCAC was Tim “The Toe” Le Nevez, fitting reward for a fine all-round game. However, at 28-14 with 10 minutes to go it was still very much anyone’s game. It was at this point that something truly bizarre happened.

I have played in one or two games when the referee has not been able to complete the match due to injury, usually a pulled hammy or something similar. But this was definitely the first match I have played in where the referee (Steve “The Vicar” Lewis) could not complete the match because he had been knocked out by a member of his own club who is also an employee of his! Picture, dear reader, if you will the following scene: A midfield ruck, halfback Lapthorn sees space behind and launches a thunderous kick at exactly the same time as Vicar moves into a space about three feet ahead of Lapthorn. What ensued was a scene which boxing aficionados will recognize as vaguely familiar to the final act of the famous Ali-Foreman 1974 ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ – the strangely satisfying ‘thud’ of solid contact followed by the Vicar (Foreman) staggering for several meters with arms windmilling in an ultimately doomed struggle against gravity before finally giving in to the inevitable and hitting the canvas (artificial grass in this case) like a sack of dropped potatoes. Some time later a still groggy Vicar left the field, replaced by one of the touch judges. Willie has not been sighted at work since.

Strangely enough the Vicar’s unfortunate demise seemed to lift the YCAC team and they promptly closed the match out with two tries to speedy flanker Kenji “Red Gloves Watermelon” Yoshioka. ICL did manage one more try but the final scoreline reflects a fairly comfortable victory for YCAC. However, the game was played in excellent spirit throughout so ICL deserve full credit for that.

After the game the team were hosted at a BBQ at the palatial residence of Bruce “The Godfather” Pflaum and we were able to farewell Conor “Tristan’s Disciple” O’Shea who is heading back to the UK this summer to begin officer training at Sandhurst. We wish Conor all the best and we are confident that some of the disciplines we have drilled into young O’Shea over the last six months (particularly the importance of consuming vessels with one’s left hand) will be of use to him at the Royal Military Academy.

After a train ride back to Shibuya with the Todai Cheerleading Squad a number of the team pushed on to Dubliners in Shibuya where El Presidente was left disappointed (once again) by the hunting abilities of the YCAC younger generation. They just don’t make them like they used to.

So passes another season.

Hunter Hemingway

Team Sheet
1. Yushi from Todai (Japan)
2. Conor “Tristan’s Disciple” O’Shea (Ireland)
3. “Slow” Joe Fisher (New Zealand) (c)
4. Sam “Tall Timber” Stephens (New Zealand)
5. Taichi “Posh Spice Junior” Noda (Japan)
6. Terry “Kojak” Buechner (USA)
7. Kenji “Red Gloves Watermelon” Yoshioka (Japan)
8. Alex “Timepiece” Curran (Australia)
9. “Wee” Willie Lapthorn (New Zealand)
10. Noah “The Bottomless Fareweller” Pflaum (Singapore)
11. Nathan “Big shoes to fill” Pflaum (New Zealand)
12. “Big” Ben Patu (Samoa)
13. Tim “The Toe” Le Nevez (Australia)
14. Charlie “Wendy” Caskey (Canada)
15. Tristan “Larry” Fahy (Ireland) (cv)
16. Patrick “Blarney” Meany (Australia)
17. “Caviar” Ken Noguchi (Japan)

20 June 2010 – YCAC vs Taisei

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Match report by Hunter Hemingway and photos by Kyoko Obayashi
Click here to view match photos
YCAC 49, Taisei 19 (HT: 24-14)
Tries: Mike Griffin, Rich Watkins (2), Willie Lapthorn, Sias Potgieter, Rafi Khan, Kats Matsuo, Noah Pflaum
Conversions: Noah Pflaum (3)
Penalty: Noah Pflaum

What is the perfect gift for Father’s Day? A ‘pass’ to play rugby it seems, at least among the YCAC crowd, with no less than thirteen Dads in our squad of twenty two (and that doesn’t even count No. 8 Steve “Big Cuzzy Bro” Gray whose first child is only days away).

And so it was that on a hot and breezy day at Hodogaya (the club’s home away from home) YCAC, temporarily renamed ‘Dad’s Army’, swept away Taisei to claim the Kanagawa League 1st Division title and send out a message that we have no intention to only be making up the numbers in the regional competition we have qualified for this autumn.

Taisei were arguably the favourites for this match, having won the competition in 2008 and 2009 and been in very good form over the last few weeks, and with a strong wind behind them they did take the early lead. However, first half tries to outside centre Mike “Hurricane” Griffin and wingers Rich “Curly” Watkins and “Wee” Willie Lapthorn plus three conversions and a penalty to fullback Noah “The Bottomless Fareweller” Pflaum saw YCAC take a 24-14 lead into the half-time break and with the benefit of a strong tail wind in the second half the match was always going to be YCAC’s to lose.

Losing, however, was something YCAC had no intention of doing and replacement lock Sias “Big Daddy Potheater” Potgieter and replacement hooker Rafi “Ghengis” Khan signalled this by fighting their way through several defenders to score two early tries in the second half. To be fair to Taisei though, they never gave up and spent most of the rest of the match camped near the YCAC line. However, YCAC were not to be denied and when replacement winger Kats “Marathon Man” Matsuo and fullback Pflaum scored length of the field intercept tries Taisei knew this wasn’t to be their day. The opposition did manage a consolation try a couple of minutes before full time but one last piece of trickery from Watkins ensured that YCAC finished with the final score of the match (and Watkins with a well-deserved double).

After such a great performance there was plenty to celebrate and no celebration was more eagerly looked forward to by the club faithful than prop Erich “Freezer” Friess’s date with a bagel. In one of life’s great ironies the man who invented the award for zero tries in a season has now become its most famous recipient and this year went on to claim the prize for a record sixth time. In honour of this momentous achievement Club President Simon “Reno” Ryan had his wife bake a special commemorative bagel for Erich and the big man went on to demolish it (along with two beers) in front of an audience that was both amused (the players) and confused (the wives and children).

Hunter Hemingway

Team Sheet
1. Erich “Freezer” Friess (USA)
2. Dean “Moe” Stallard (Australia) (cv)
3. Leopold “Oz” Visser (South Africa)
4. Stephen “Hang Time” Marcon (England)
5. Aran “Two Inches” Delaney (USA)
6. David “The Goliath” Dix (Australia)
7. “Slow” Joe Fisher (NZ) (c)
8. Steve “Big Cuzzy Bro” Gray (NZ)
9. Dougal “Big Daddy White Serevi” Robertson (NZ)
10. “Big” Ben Patu (Samoa)
11. “Wee” Willie Lapthorn (NZ)
12. Maui “Customer Service” Magele (Samoa)
13. Mike “Hurricane” Griffin (Australia)
14. Rich “Curly” Watkins (England)
15. Noah “The Bottomless Fareweller” Pflaum (Singapore)
16. Rafi “Ghengis” Khan (USA)
17. Yoshio “Nike” Naiki (Japan)
18. Sias “Big Daddy Potheater” Potgieter (South Africa)
19. Conor “Tristan’s Disciple” O’Shea (Ireland)
20. Kats “Marathon Man” Matsuo (Japan)
21. Heihachiro “Ben Affleck” Yamaguchi (Japan)
22. Charlie “Wendy” Caskey (Canada)

24 Apr 2010 – YCAC vs Singapore Cricket Club

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Match report by Hunter Hemingway and photos by Kyoko Obayashi
Click here to view match photos
YCAC 12, Singapore Cricket Club 31 (HT: 5-12)
Tries: Sam Stephens, Ben Patu
Conversion: Ben Patu

“I didn’t think YCAC ever lost.”

CONOR O’SHEA

Wouldn’t that be nice! And, in fact, the YCAC 1sts haven’t lost a match since Tristan’s Disciple No. 3* joined us at the start of 2010. Mercifully defeats have been few and far between for the YCAC 1sts this season and you have to go back to 3 November 2009 for the last one (against Keio University). However, we definitely deserved to lose this game – we scored the first and last try of the match but the middle was all the SCC.

The SCC brought an impressive sized touring party to Japan, about 40 players in total, and were similar to YCAC in the diversity of backgrounds of their members. In amongst the normal host of Kiwis, Aussies and Brits were several Singapore internationals (including one who played for the SCC B team), a Cyprus international and the current Swiss national team captain.

YCAC were hoping that the rigours of touring may soften the SCC somewhat but unfortunately, despite undergoing what was by all accounts a ‘punishing’ social schedule, they turned up ready to play and freshened up by the conditions. (The SCC have unanimously decided that the ideal temperature for rugby is 15 – 20 degrees with no humidity.) Despite this, YCAC did manage the first try of the game after veteran lock David “The Goliath” Dix made an excellent break in his own half and wisely fed the ball to youngster Sam “Tall Timber” Stevens who outsprinted the cover defence to dot down in the corner. This was an especially opportune score for young Stevens as he had brought his new girlfriend along to YCAC for the first time and this effort surely must have impressed her. The only disappointing aspect of the whole affair was that the new Mrs. Stevens had brought along a friend who was very keen to meet ‘a foreign guy’ (any foreign guy?) and she left single-handed. Rhino and Fraser were suitably disgusted.

The SCC then dominated the middle stages of the game, scoring 31 unanswered points and showing the advantages of practising twice a week and playing regularly against opponents of a similar size and mindset. However, YCAC did have the last word in the match when fly-half “Big” Ben Patu powered his way over from close to the line to ensure that the home team finished the match with at least a little respectability. Rhino then made sure that we came away with at least one victory for the day by giving Patu a ‘home team’ pour in the MVP drink-off which enabled the big Samoan to comfortably out-skull SCC MVP (and former YCAC player) Matt “Magpie” Head.

Hunter Hemingway

* Tristan’s Disciple No. 1: Andy “The Topless Greeter” Kennedy (Note: Not to be confused with Adam “The Portly Winger” Kennedy who is actually Tristan’s boss.)

Tristan’s Disciple No. 2: Noah “The Bottomless Fareweller” Pflaum

Team Sheet

1. Erich “The Puppet-Master” Friess (USA)
2. Daisuke “Silent Assassin” Okada (Japan)
3. Leopold “Oz” Visser (South Africa)
4. Stephen “Hang Time” Marcon (England)
5. David “The Goliath” Dix (Australia)
6. Sam “Tall Timber” Stephens (New Zealand)
7. “Slow” Joe Fisher (New Zealand) (c)
8. Steve “Wall Street” Gray (New Zealand)
9. “Wee” Willie Lapthorn (New Zealand)
10. “Big” Ben Patu (Samoa)
11. Kenji “Red Gloves Watermelon” Yoshioka (Japan)
12. Mike “Hurricane” Griffin (Australia)
13. Tristan “Don’t mention the Panty Shield” Fahy (Ireland) (vc)
14. Rich “MIA” Watkins (England)
15. Ben “Mellow Fox” Duncan (England)
16. Rafi “Ghengis” Khan (USA)
17. Taichi “Posh Spice Junior” Noda (Japan)
18. Conor “Tristan’s Disciple No. 2” O’Shea (Ireland)
19. Arnaud “Mature Big Daddy” Terrien (France)
20. “Kill” Bill Baker (USA)

Nagoya trip – 12 Sep 2009

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Match report by Joe Fisher
Photos by Kyoko Obayashi
Gents photos
1sts photos

YCAC Gents 24, Aichi Shukutoku University 42
Tries: Arnaud, Rafi Khan (2), Fraser
Cons: Fraser (2)

Whether it is politics, business or sport, the moral fibre of the Leader is all-important. The portents looked good as we departed from Tokyo as our bastion of moral rectitude (Slow-Joe Fisher) had not only organised the Nagoya trip immaculately (including breakfast for all of the guys), but had also arranged for his pretty wife to see him off at the station with a kiss. But in Nagoya the entire squad witnessed Slow-Joe literally lose his way. For a man committed to dietary discipline and the half-time banana it was a shock for the troops to be told to go and get a McDonalds on arrival at Nagoya station. It was even more of a shock to catch Slow-Joe waving at a group of 15 year old school girls (and yet more shocking to see their hysterically enthusiastic excitement in waving back to our Dear Leader). But most horrific of all was to discover that Slow-Joe had arranged a fixture for YCAC Gents against a University First Team.

Now, let’s get this absolutely straight at the outset. YCAC Gents is a team comprising guys who have had their better days. We are all over 40, we have pot bellies, we can’t run and we can’t tackle. As the Joy of Sex is now a cuddle and a cocoa with the wife, so the Joy of Rugby is the rumbling of fat bodies in scrum or maul.

Fortunately, the Vicar still has a direct line to God and was able to persuade the Almighty to send a storm of biblical proportions. The humid Summer’s Day was soon transformed to thunder, lightening and hailstones. But this was a minor miracle compared to the way in which Fraser landed a chip-kick on a six pence for Arnaud to gather and score. 7-0 to the Gents after 20 minutes. The squelchy conditions slowed down the 20 year old youngsters, but by half-time their blatant cheating (ie running fast when playing over 40s) had squeezed them ahead 7-14.

The half-time break was less a team-talk than a collective inhalation of breath. It is an understatement to say that the Gents are never at their fittest for the first game of the season and the lack of availability of substitutes (apart from the portly winger Adam Kennedy) brought with it a realisation that there was going to be a lot of running to do in the second half. Conversely, the University side not only had the benefit of six training sessions a week in the run up to the game, but also had a barrage of substitutes. Inevitably, the second half yielded try after try to these wing-heeled youngsters and the Gents’ minds turned away from the match and towards revenge against Slow-Joe.

Fortunately, the vengeful thoughts of a bunch of fat old men jumping up and down on Joe Fisher’s lithe body brought inspiration of sorts and the Gents reverted to the rumbling rugby that is our trademark. With Rafi and Nike leading from the front and Fraser using his full resources of weight and guile in the backs, the Gents steam-rollered through for three unanswered tries. At this point, the Gents were within two scores of the youngsters who were becoming seriously rattled. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off and the gas ran out with the result that the University Boys were able to run in a couple of late tries to flatter the score-line in their favour.

YCAC 1sts 12 Nagoya Barbarians 21 (HT 0-7)
Tries: Maui Magele, Brimman Frazer
Conversions: Rich Watkins

On a wet and wild day at Nagoya’s University of Feminine Virtue (愛知淑徳大学) the YCAC 1st XV kicked off their 2009/10 season with a tough match against the Nagoya Barbarians. The Nagoya Barbarians were established in 2003 and are comprised of mainly foreign players. They had recently put 80 points on the Crusaders and from watching their warm-ups it was obvious to see why – they had considerable size and they were clearly taking things very seriously.
The game was very physical right from the start and it soon became obvious what each team’s strengths and weaknesses were – the set pieces were about even, Nagoya had an advantage at ruck time and YCAC looked more dangerous when the ball went wide. Wingers Maui “Apocalypto” Magele and Eps “Little Cuzzy Bro” Tuibenau in particular looked dangerous every time they got the ball. Maui has clearly spent the off-season teaching Eps the finer points of fast starts both on and off the field as Eps has managed to get his better half pregnant and will soon be joining Maui in the YCAC Young Fathers Club. Unfortunately for us, the torrential rain made it difficult for us to implement our tactic of getting it wide and with the first half scoring consisting of just one try to the Barbarians (slightly against the run of play), YCAC went into half-time in an unfamiliar position – behind.

However, YCAC started the second half stronger due to some inspiration by another who has had a busy off-season (and therefore
another baby on the way) – our touch judge Steve “The Vicar” Lewis. Although it might be a bit of a linguistic stretch to get Vicar included in the Young Fathers Club he once again showed that there is no limit on what he will do for the club he loves. This time, somewhat strangely, he choose to try to inspire the troops by running touch in the second half with no shirt on. This unorthodox tactic immediately paid dividends and a fired-up Maui took full advantage by steaming through several Barbarians players to lodge YCAC’s first try. However, Maui was not the only one impressed by the sight of a half-naked Vicar – YCAC enforcer Erich “Freezer” Friess was clearly paying close attention as he later revealed a well-hidden artistic (or possibly even homoerotic) side by commenting that during this time Vicar’s nipples were “as hard as diamonds”. Given the club’s need for sponsorship this season it was a real shame that veteran prop Scott “Mad Marvin” Sizemore was not on this trip – he has previously paid Y50,000 for the pleasure of twisting the aforementioned nipples and surely the sight of a dripping wet Vicar would have proved too much for him had he been there.
Unfortunately the Barbarians were the next to score, catching us napping when a lineout went wrong. However, YCAC hit back almost immediately with flanker Brimman “Brutus” Frazer running a nice angle to score YCAC’s second try. This took the score to 14-12 with 4 minutes to go. Perhaps showing that we are not used to going into the final stages of matches behind, we tried to push things from our own line and turned the ball over. When the Barbarians scored shortly afterwards that was enough to seal the match for them.

Although a loss, this match was very useful for a lot of reasons. It immediately got us tuned in to this season and demonstrated clearly the areas of our game we need to work on. It also introduced us to the Nagoya Barbarians, a worthy opponent and one who we will hopefully play annually from now on. The tour was also useful for a number of off-field reasons, as Chris “Benedict Arnold” Mander (or should that be Chris “The Alpha Male” Mander) can attest to …

Team Sheet
1. Erich “Freezer” Friess (USA)
2. Dean “Team Player” Stallard (Australia)
3. Leopold “Os” Visser (South Africa)
4. Matt “Posh Spice” Dimond (England)
5. Rafi “Ghengis” Khan (USA)
6. “Slow” Joe Fisher (New Zealand) (c)
7. Brimman “Brutus” Frazer (USA)
8. Tony “Big Daddy” Baildon (Australia)
9. Rich “Fabio” Watkins (England)
10. Ben “Sumo” Patu (Samoa)
11. Maui “Apocalypto” Magele (Samoa)
12. Grant “Mr. Normal” Thompson (England)
13. Tristan “Inside Centre” Fahy (Ireland)
14. Eps “Little Cuzzy Bro” Tuibenau (New Zealand)
15. Willie “Mini Me” Lapthorn (New Zealand)
16. Yoshio “Nike” Naiki (Japan)
17. Sandy “The Comeback Kid” Rose (USA)
18. Chris “Benedict Arnold” Mander

  • Recent Reports

  • 2014/2015 Season Fixtures

    Opposition Results Dates
    Hokkaido Barbarians
    (Tour to Sapporo)
    L29 – 0 Sat Aug 30th
    Sharks
    (YC&AC ground)
    L41 – 21 Sun Sept 28th
    Komaba WMM
    (YC&AC ground)
    L36 – 22 Sun Oct 12th
    Kitakami
    (YC&AC ground)
    W40 – 27 Sun Oct 26th
    Taisei Reds (YC&AC ground) W18 – 17 Sun Nov 9th
    McFadyen Cup
    (YC&AC ground)
    W61 – 21 Sat Nov 22nd
    RKU
    (YC&AC ground)
    L76 – 3 Sun Nov 30th
    Koyama RFC
    (YC&AC ground)
    W96 – 0 Sat Dec 6th
    Mandara
    (YC&AC ground)
    L17 -10 Sun Dec 14th
    Acorn W62 - 7 Sun Mar 8th, 1.30pm
    Itochu Cancelled Sun Mar 15th, 1.30pm
    Over 35s Champs Sat Mar 21st
    56th YC&AC Japan Sevens Ryutsu Keizai University Sun Apr 12th